Technology

Wonder to acquire meal kit company Blue Apron for $103M

The virtual food hall chain founded by Marc Lore is expanding into meal kits as it strives to become a “super app for mealtime.”
Wonder
Wonder's food halls offer delivery from more than a dozen restaurants. | Photo courtesy of Wonder

Wonder, the fast-growing virtual food hall company founded by billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore, is acquiring meal kit company Blue Apron for $103 million.

The companies said Friday that the deal will create “a leading platform for mealtime” encompassing Wonder’s restaurant delivery concept and Blue Apron’s meal kit service.

The latter company will continue current operations as Blue Apron, but the two expect “new synergies” between their mobile apps and delivery logistics, according to a press release. 

“Wonder and Blue Apron deliver high-quality, chef-curated meals, making this a great match to offer more incredible mealtime experiences,” Blue Apron CEO Linda Findley said in a statement. “The Blue Apron brand and products that our customers know and love will stay the same, with more opportunity for product expansion in the future.”

It is a surprising deal given that Wonder is still in startup mode. It has four locations in New York and New Jersey and plans to reach 10 by the end of the year. But Lore’s ambitions go well beyond that: He envisions Wonder becoming a “super app for mealtime” with 7,000 outlets across the country selling made-to-order food as well as meal kits, recipes and even groceries.

Buying Blue Apron brings Wonder a little closer to that goal.

“At-home meals play a key role in this vision and have been on our strategic roadmap since the beginning,” Lore said in a statement. 

[Read our in-depth report on Wonder: Marc Lore's Wonder is reinventing the meal.]

Wonder made an offer for Blue Apron after the meal kit company sold its production and fulfillment operation to FreshRealm in May, shifting to an “asset-light” model. 

“We knew it would accelerate our strategic position, create immediate opportunities for synergy and most importantly, enable us to further delight customers by expanding the ways you can access and experience Wonder,” Lore said. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Blue Apron to the Wonder platform and look forward to working with Linda and her exceptional team.”

Wonder will pay $13 per share for the publicly traded Blue Apron—a 137% premium to its Thursday share price and a 77% premium to its 30-day volume-weighted average price—valuing the deal at about $103 million. 

Blue Apron, a pioneer in meal kit delivery, has struggled since going public in 2017. Its decline has included layoffs and shrinking customer and order counts, and its share price has lost 99% of its IPO value.

Lore will bring his considerable experience in direct-to-consumer retail to the company. He is the founder of Diapers.com, an online baby goods store that later sold to Amazon, and Jet.com, an Amazon competitor. He sold Jet to Walmart and then led the retailer's ecommerce division for more than four years. He left in 2021 to run Wonder full time. 

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